Michigan Football 1883 | bigbluefootballhistory.com Michigan Football History | Michigan Wolverine Football History

November 27, 2018 Happy Birthday Anniversary William H. Mace!

Posted on November 26, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates the Happy Birthday Anniversary of William H. Mace. Our Wolverine of the Day, William Harrison Mace was born near Lexington, Indiana in 1852. Yes, that was a very, very, very long time ago. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Mace left the family farm to attend the Indiana State Normal School. He graduated in 1876 with his teaching credentials.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day: William H. Mace

A Late Bloomer

William Mace taught for a number of years in Indiana, before he got the urge to return to school. He enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1881. After being on campus for one year, William Mace decided to give the game of “football” a try.  So, at thirty years of age, he joined the Michigan Wolverine Football team. I doubt that Mace was the youngest man on the team. Maybe his nickname was “pops” or Grandpa for taking up the game at a later age!

The “Season” with No Outside Games

The 1882 team was captained by William J. Olcott. The Bentley Historical Library lists a starting lineup of  nine players and a full roster of thirteen for the 1882 team. I don’t know if the Wolverines did not have enough players to compete with outside teams in 1882 or if they just couldn’t schedule any games. Whatever the reason, the Michigan Wolverine varsity did not play any other teams in 1882 for the first and only time in their football history.

Even though the 1882 football team played no outside games, eleven men were awarded varsity letters and William H. Mace was one of them. Mace was listed as a rusher so he could mix it up at the line of scrimmage. Interestingly, he played the same position as Michigan football legend, Horace G. Prettyman, who was also a rusher on the 1882 football team. William H. Mace is one of the very few men in Michigan Football History to letter on a team that didn’t play an inter-collegiate game during his “career.”

William Mace | bigbluefootballhistory.com

William H. Mace was on the 1882 Michigan football team. He went on to a distinguished career as an educator, school administrator and university professor. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

A Successful Life After Michigan and Football

After graduating from Michigan in 1883, Mace went on to become a superintendent of schools in Iowa. He left his duties as school superintendent in 1885 to join the faculty of DePauw University Normal School where he served as a professor of history. He continued to work in a variety of positions at the university level until his retirement in 1916. William H. Mace authored a number of books and articles about history during his distinguished career. William H. Mace died on August 11, 1938 at the age of eighty-five.

So, today is a good day to remember another man who contributed to the great history of the University of Michigan’s football program. May William Harrison Mace rest in peace on the one-hundred sixty-fifth anniversary of his birth. Go Blue!

To read more about this fascinating Michigan Man check out the links below.



Part II. Michigan Football Trivia Question – November 26, 2018

Who is the only Big Ten coach to have a winning record against Bo Schembechler from 1969 to 1989?

Part II. Michigan Football Trivia Answer – November 26, 2018

Earle Bruce, who replaced Woody Hayes, was the only Big Ten coach to have a winning record against Bo Schembechler from 1969 to 1989. Bo and Earle faced off against each other in nine different games. Five of those games were in Ann Arbor and Bruce won 3 and lost 2 in the Big House. The two men were even at 2 wins and 2 losses at The Horseshoe. So, Earle Bruce finished with a record of 5 wins and 4 losses against Bo Schembechler.

Part III. Michigan Football Trivia Question – November 27, 2018

The end of season awards will be announced in the coming weeks. Who was the first Wolverine to earn All-American honors?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *